Al fresco dining has boomed in the UK with Covid-19 restrictions and sunny weather encouraging more people to make use of quiet streets and pavements outside businesses.
Councillor Angela Argenzio, licensing committee member, said the licensing department and Sheffield Council was looking into the issue and whether to update its licensing policy too.
She said: “I personally don’t smoke and have never done so and I think that because our habits in terms of using outside spaces in restaurants, bars and pubs have changed since the start of the pandemic, it is worth having a look at the effect of smoke on people who are using outside spaces who are non-smokers.
“Incidentally in countries in Europe with a ‘culture’ of drinking and eating al fresco because of the climate, you can smoke outside.
“I would possibly support a ban. Passive smoking is a serious issue and I don’t see why people should be exposed to it, however I would also like to address the issue of air pollution that has as devastating effects on people’s lungs as passive smoking, not just carbon dioxide but particulate matter too.
“The levels of PM in some high traffic levels in Sheffield (Hunters Bar for example) are very high, so whilst we don’t want to expose our children to passive smoke we forget that other dangers are there too.”
Councillor Joe Otten, also member of the licensing committee, said: “Speaking for myself, I am sympathetic to the idea. I do suspect we would be on weak legal ground trying to ban outdoor smoking in hospitality venues altogether, and therefore something less than a blanket ban would be proportionate and defensible.
“I’m also keen that vaping should be allowed, because it is the switch from smoking to vaping that has delivered the bulk of the public health gain of recent years.”